Miami Men Review European Men's Fashion: "I Don't Know. I Don't Like It."
According to the magazine Lifestyle Mirror, this year our Magic City was ranked the fifth most fashionable city in the United States. It's plain to see that for the mamis of our perpetual summer hotspot, fashion is everything. But what about the men of the 305? Does runway resonate the same for them as it does our ladies? Or is it simply a glut of unachievable cosplay, meant to be left on the cold planks of the runway?
In view of recent Men's Fashion Week festivities in Milan, Paris, and London, we were curious to know if the papis of our supposed fashion hub would, too, covet the looks that strode down the runways of arguably the biggest fashion mavericks in the game come next spring. So we took to Lincoln Road to investigate just how far our male partisans are willing to go with fashion. Would they have big enough cojones to rock a pair of illustriously baggy, metallic, khaki Versace trousers, roomy enough to nest the whole entire House of Versace? Or are such pieces - as the great André Leon Talley put it - too "gauche" to cull some lovin' from our guys?
To put it bluntly: are the men of Miami ready to accept high fashion in their every-day-routine or not?
Eight images/videos from some of the most flagrant runways of the season were selected to either stifle or appease our test subjects. Here's what the average male specimen of Miami had to say about them. Brace yourselves.
Side note: As we conducted these interviews (or tried to), we were shot down countless times and were refused quotes pertaining to the forenamed subject matter, treated like straight-up fashion solicitors. Evidently, the topic of fashion is more sensitive than we thought for men. Luckily, we were able to wrangle up a few candidates to participate in our round of testings.
We first started our guys off with some training wheels, care of Kris Van Assche's Spring 2015 collection, flaunting boxy suits done in basic primary colors, yet decorated with salient-as-shit prints -- perhaps the most modest of the bunch.
But when our initial subject - a bruiting, young, hyper-masculine Mike DeStefano - didn't think he'd have much to offer. When we asked if he'd talk to us about fashion, he responded, "Well, we're straight."
Our comeback: "Do you not wear clothes?"
"Good rebuttal," said DeStefano's wingman of the day, Aline Navarro, who would, in turn, be answering all the hard-hitting questions for the "unassuming" look.
"No," was the immediate response out of Navarro's mouth upon the sight of Van Assche's unconventional take on the otherwise modern-day suit, equipped with what appeared to be a busy, white-toothpick print (0:44 in the video). "I don't like whatever these hash-marks are, and I have broad shoulders; I can't wear that European cut."
DeStefano couldn't help but to jump into the discussion. "What is this guy? Fuckin' 90 pounds? Really? Really?"
"It's like you're trying to do too much," Navarro adds. "But that's runway; that's what they're supposed to do, right?"
Stamp of Approval: Denied.
Owens' painterly collection boasting oversized, rectilinear tunics and hair-wrapped heads, looked to get a rise out of its seated audience. But things really got weird when statuesque models, painted from head-to-toe in chalk-like body paint, trampled down the runway (2:20 in).
For a self-described "regular guy" like Garfield St. Hillarie, sporting a basic black tank and some unpretentious aviators, this particular look was a bitter pill to swallow.
"He's probably like a street performer of some sort," he says, imagining someone crossing his path in this ghostly get-up on Lincoln Road. "I think it's more of an entertainer thing; if you're somebody big in the business you can wear it, but if you're a regular guy like me..." he shakes his head in disappointment, while solidly fixing his gaze on the white, spirit man created by Rick Owens. We already knew what his answer was.
Stamp of Approval: Denied.
For women, fringe has always been acceptable. But when transferred on a navy sweater, looking like a goddam bearded bib by Paul Smith, for the fellas, it loses all its luster for Miami men.
"I don't like this, it's weird," says Orlando Buendia while lounging on his beach cruiser, trying to decipher the image in front of him.
"It looks like a jellyfish," agreed Buendia's comrade, Andrew Stoker. "I think it would be ugly on anyone, guy or girl."
The whole ensemble, however, wasn't a complete disaster, at least not for Buendia. "I like the shoes," he says of the espadrille-inspired footwear.
Stamp of Approval: halfsies?
These days, more and more men are accepting the color pink into their closets. But when Donatella Versace decided to dedicate the first half of her show to the color, it became a blatant overkill.
We asked James McDonald, a straight dude with a keen appetite for fashion, what he thought of the pink elephant in the room: "It fits for South Florida."
But when asked if he would ever rock the soft-sided secondary color, he admits he wouldn't -- not even the belt or shoes. "I'm pretty tame."
"He's cute and everything, though," he added.
We love a man who openly man-crushes.
Stamp of Approval: no to the look; yes to the dude.
Burberry's Christopher Bailey looked to emit a sense of wanderlust from his Spring 2015 collection. What he got in return was a bewildered Claudio Genovese from Miami, scratching his head in confusion; especially at the second look that appeared on the British designer's runway. In fact, the clusterfuck consisting of a neon-green bucket hat on top of a brown, shortened trench; on top of a denim button-up; on top of velvet trousers; on top of multi-colored tennis with neon-green laces, had us all asking the obvious question of why.
"He's confused," he says of the svelte model in heavy velvet pants. "He doesn't know if he wants to go to the beach or...is he traveling? I don't know. I don't like it." Even the girlfriend agreed.
Stamp of Approval: and another one bites the dust.
Yamamoto's collection was chiefly concerned with models posing as "nomads," but a minute and 18 seconds into the show, the looks drastically changed from nomadic drifters to "yo ho me mateys!" by way of a shit ton of billowy denim, a meaty head scarf underneath a substantial poor boy hat, and an über femme, double strap, brown leather belt. Captain Jack Sparrow wouldn't have looked out of place.
But Felipe Mayor was kinda digging it.
"I support this look, though I wouldn't sport this look," Mayor says poetically. "But if I saw someone walking down Lincoln Road in this, I would think he has style; I admire it."
Stamp of Approval: A reluctant yes?
Okay, so maybe the male denizens of Miami aren't ready take high fashion seriously (at least not serious enough to actually don the above pieces). But can you really blame them? While these styles are certainly artistic, practicality is nowhere to be found; and without practicality, what good are you here in Miami, anyway? Sure, our guys live for ostentatious trends like loud colors, conspicuous kicks, and nut-sack adhering pants, but they know better than to dress up as Johnny Depp's stunt double in the 40th installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, or a back-from-the-dead version of The Blue Man Group. Leave the flair for dress-up to the dudes in Soho or on Hollywood Blvd. Miami dudes are in a totally different league of style -- a league of their own.
Send your story tips to Cultist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.